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Lebanon says Iran agreed amnesty for detained national

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran has agreed to grant an amnesty to a Lebanese citizen it detained in 2015 for “collaborating against the state”, Lebanon’s state news agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying on Tuesday.

Nizar Zakka, an information technology expert who has permanent residency in the United States, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 and fined $4.2 million.

“The Iranian ambassador to Beirut has informed the Foreign Minister of the Iranian authorities’ decision to respond to the request… regarding amnesty,” NNA cited the ministry as saying.

Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon said the authorities in Tehran were ready to hand Zakka over to Lebanese officials, it said.

NNA also cited media representatives on behalf of Zakka’s family as saying the initiative to release him had been successful, and thanking President Michel Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

Zakka had been invited to Iran by a government official in 2015 but then disappeared after attending a conference in Tehran. State media announced later that year that he had ties to U.S. military and intelligence services and had been detained by the Revolutionary Guards.

In 2017 Iranian state media reported that he had lost an appeal against the verdict in his case.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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